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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023

What is still to be decided in F1's Abu Dhabi season-finale?

RacingNews365 takes a look at what is yet to be decided in the 2023 season finale in Abu Dhabi, with millions of dollars at stake.

Abu Dhabi '22
To news overview © XPBimages

For the first time since 2015, Formula 1 heads to the Abu Dhabi season-finale with the top three in the Drivers' Championship assured of their final positions and with the Constructors' title wrapped up.

Back then, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel were guaranteed to finish in that order with the Constructors' set for a second year at Brackley after Mercedes' domination.

Fast forward to 2023, and Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Hamilton will be the top three in the standings, in that order, with Red Bull wrapping up their second Constructors'.

So, on the face of it, there's not a great deal to be decided in Yas Marina. Except, there are a few million items to be decided.

RacingNews365 rounds up the biggest yet-to-be-decided talking points ahead of the weekend.

Mercedes vs Ferrari - P2 in the Constructors'

Most of the remaining TBDs in the standings come from the Constructors', with the biggest one being Mercedes vs Ferrari for second place.

As it stands, Mercedes has 392 points, Ferrari 388 for a slender lead of just four points.

The Scuderia has been on a charge in the second-half of the season as Mercedes' form has somewhat plateaued as both look towards 2024 and hopes of reeling in Red Bull and Verstappen.

There are both pros and cons to finishing higher in the championship.

The obvious pro is that whoever does take P2 will earn about $10-15 million more in prize money once F1 divides up the pot between the teams.

On the flip side, if you finish third, on the sliding scale of development time, that team will have more wind-tunnel and CFD time to play with to ensure a strong start to the season.

McLaren vs Aston Martin - P4 in the Constructors'

At the start of the season, if you'd offered Aston Martin the chance to go into the season-finale with a shot at fourth in the standings, the Silverstone-based squad would have gladly taken that amid a busy year.

Moving into its new state-of-the-art facility during the season, the AMR23 was fast out of the blocks as a motivated Fernando Alonso drove it to six podiums in the first eight races before the team was out-developed and fell back.

McLaren was the team doing most of the leapfrogging, with the MCL60 going from also-ran midfield fodder to second-fastest behind the Red Bull RB19 - even if slow-speed corners remain something of a weakness.

Heading to Abu Dhabi, McLaren has 284 points to Aston's 273, a lead of nine.

Fortunately for Aston, Lance Stroll appears to have found some late season form, with 26 points in the last four races, including a pair of fifth places in Brazil and Las Vegas.

In the 14 race weekends, including Sprints, since Azerbaijan, he had scored just 27.

A four way battle - P7 in the Constructors'

Aside from Red Bull, the only other team to know its final finishing position is Alpine in sixth.

The team has 120 points and is 153 behind Aston Martin and 92 ahead of Williams in seventh.

James Vowles' squad is leading a four-way battle for seventh, on paper at least.

Heading into the weekend, Williams has 28 points, AlphaTauri 21, Alfa Romeo 16 and Haas 12.

Given Alfa Romeo and Haas has scored 11 points between them in the 13 races since Austria, it is safe to say they won't be challenging Williams or AlphaTauri.

A late season resurgence from AlphaTauri has seen the team scoop 16 of its 21 points in the four races since the United States as upgrades have finally unlocked pace hidden within the AT04.

This is a team firmly looking ahead of 2024 with a new name, new team leadership and is bringing a host of new parts to Abu Dhabi in a push to get over the line and deny Williams P7.

Should Williams hang on, it would be the team's best result in the Constructors' since fifth in 2017.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Sainz vs Alonso vs Norris - P4 in the Drivers'

The other major placing to be decided will be fourth place in the Drivers' Championship.

As it stands, Carlos Sainz has 200 points, as does Fernando Alonso, with Lando Norris on 195.

Crucially, in the event of a tie such as if Sainz and Alonso fail to score and Norris finishes eighth with fastest lap, Sainz would bank P4 on countback owing to that win in Singapore.

Under this scenario, Norris would finish fifth as he would have six second places to Alonso's three.

Charles Leclerc is not out of the equation, although he has slim chances.

The Monegasque has 188 points, 12 less than Sainz, meaning if Leclerc finishes second and hauls 18 points, Sainz or Alonso would simply need a seventh place and six points to maintain position ahead.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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